City Sports Report

Brooklyn Nets thrill-ride season continues


The 2014-2015 season has been an up-and-down one for the Brooklyn Nets that almost feels like a rollercoaster ride, and no stretch of games probably illustrates this better than the last five played by the team.

On the last day of February, the Nets had arguably their most impressive road win of the season, a 104-94 win over the Dallas Mavericks.  The Nets followed that up with a win over the team with the best record in the NBA at the time, MVP front-runner Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, 110-108 to begin a five-game home stand after being away from Barclays Center for eight straight.  This was, perhaps, the highest point of the rollercoaster season for the Nets.  But when it comes to rollercoasters, and the 2014-2015 season, what goes up, must come down.

The Brooklyn Nets showed little passion in their next home game, getting dismantled by the Charlotte Hornets 115-91 despite entering the game tied with their southern rivals for the eighth and final Eastern Conference spot in the 2015 NBA Playoffs.  The Nets followed that loss up with a disheartening overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns on national television, 108-100 in which they blew a 15-point lead with 5:45 left in the game.

Brooklyn followed that up with a third-straight home loss to former New Jersey Net Derrick Favors and the Utah Jazz, 95-88.  At 25-36, the Nets are an incredible seven games under .500 at Barclays Center, where they are just 11-18, compared to a respectable 14-18 on the road.  Nets center Brook Lopez talked about the struggles at home after the Sunday evening loss to the Jazz.

“I don’t know.  It’s definitely backed up our record and you can see it tonight.  It’s something we’ve got to figure out.  We’ve got to get back out to go out onto the court and do something.”

Nets head coach Lionel Hollins seemed perplexed as to why the team plays so badly at home.  “I have no idea why.  You could ask every one of the players in (the locker room) and they’d tell you something probably different.  You could ask every one of the coaches and they’d probably tell you something different.  But no one knows why.  It’s just not a good thing.  We played extremely well in the two games in Dallas and Houston.  We played well from the start of the post All-Star break.  We lost a game we should have won, we were in a game in New Orleans that they earned.  We come home and we have a big win against Golden State and then we go flat.”

As Hollins predicted, forward Joe Johnson had a different response than Lopez, but was equally unable to come up with an answer for the home struggles.  “It’s strange for whatever reason, but I don’t know what the problem is.”

Lopez also talked about hearing boos, and sounded as if he could relate to the fans.  “We’ve underperformed.  They expect better from us and have high expectations and we need to meet those.  And I think we ourselves, in this locker room, have even higher expectations.”  The expectations of the fans and team itself aren’t being met right now.

If the rollercoaster ride is going to continue, the Nets are going to have to go up again and get closer to finding themselves in the playoffs, as the rollercoaster they are currently on won’t be able to go much lower than the team is now.

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